Indiatimes Shopping Sucks… Big Time!!

Online shopping experience is awesome – everyone says. For me, over the past week, online shopping experience has been anything but awesome. Ever since I got engaged (YES! Am Engaged!!), I wanted to gift something special to my fiancee Prarthana who stays thousands of miles away in India. The marriage date has been fixed for December 29, 2008 and since I stay in Dubai and she stays in India, we have only been in touch through chat sessions and phone calls. Long distance relationship is the hardest and it sometimes can be overwhelming.

So, on 17th October 2008, I decided now was the time to send her a gift to cheer her up. So I started by Googling “send gifts to India”. Google threw up a huge list of websites – I chose Rediff.com out of the lot because it’s a known company, which can be trusted. I quickly went through the offers they had on their shopping site and I zeroed-in on the perfect gift for Prarthana.

I clicked on “Add to Cart”, and then clicked on “Proceed to Pay”. That’s when the site displayed a message saying the item i had requested was out of stock. Okie, so now I was back to square one. I checked the search result page on Google again and I saw Indiatimes Shopping on the list. Indiatimes is a part of the Times of India group – the largest media company in India and one of the top media companies in the world.

Indiatimes

So I clicked on the link and started gift searching again. I was in for a surprise, when I found the exact gift I had tried ordering on Rediff.com, on Indiatimes Shopping. I quickly proceeded to checkout, and i was presented with a whole range of payment options. I used my online banking account with ICICI Bank to order the gift (and the amount was instantly deducted from my bank account).

After ordering the gift, I quickly checked my email account. Indiatimes Shopping sent me a receipt of the purchase with an order number and other payment details. I said to myself, “That’s really cool! It’s so convenient.” The mail from Indiatimes Shopping said that the order will be delivered to the delivery address within 48 hours. It seemed like a damn neat deal. Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I didn’t want to let Prarthana know. However, since I keyed in her office address as the delivery address, I asked her to expect a package from me through Indiatimes (and no, I didn’t share the gift’s details).

She was happy, and so was I. So, since I ordered on 17th October (Friday), I thought Indiatimes would deliver the package on 18th October. I checked with Prarthana on the evening of 18th October (Saturday) and learned that the package had still not been delivered. I figured since it was raining heavily in India, the shipment might have gotten delayed. I told Prarthana that may be the package will be delivered on Monday, 20th October 2008 (Indiatimes does not deliver on Sundays and holidays).

I checked again with her on 20th October and found out that the package was still not delivered. It was well past the 48 hour delivery promise I was made. I quickly sent a mail to their “Customer Service” department giving them details about the order and everything. I got an instant “standard” reply from them telling me how their customers are important and that I should expect a reply from them after 2 working days.

mail 1

I was patient for two whole days, but I lost my cool when on the third day I still hadn’t received any reply from them. I sent another mail asking them about the status. Fourth day (after sending the first mail to the customer service), and still no reply. I was pissed off! I immediately called customer service number in India to inquire. An automated IVR system answered my call and after selecting ‘2’ for English and ‘2’ again for shopping queries, a high pitch voice started rambling about special Diwali promotions called “offers ka baap” deal. By the way, “offers ka baap” essentially translates to “the father of all special offers” in English.

After the voice finished rambling, I thought I would now be transfered to a “real” customer service agent. Instead, everything went silent and after a few seconds, the IVR system hung up on me. I said, “WHAT THE F*CK???”. I spent about 20 dirhams (about Rs. 250) just to listen to their offer shit. I called again, and the same thing happened. So now, I was out AED 40 and still nothing. I checked their Shopping site and they had another customer service number for their travel department.

I quickly dialed the number and this time the call was successful. A guy named Karan answered the phone and I started narrating my story to him. He said that he will now transfer to the right department and asked me to hold the line. I asked him not to transfer me again because their stupid shopping customer service number doesn’t work. I demanded talking to the supervisor. Karan then said that there wasn’t any supervisor on the floor, and asked me to mail the details of my order and my complaint to another e-mail address and promised me that he would forward my mail on urgent basis to the right department.

mail 2

I said I was OK with it and noted down the customer service e-mail ID. After getting all the details, he then started rambling his script to sell me some air tickets. I interrupted him – “Woah, woah, slow down! Do you think I will order something again through your service, after I have gone through all this crap??” He said, “But sir, this is a different department.” I answered, “Yes, but it still is the same company, right??”

After finishing the call, I sent an e-mail to the e-mail ID Karan mentioned. I immediately got another automated message telling me that I was a valuable customer and blah de blah! So, after spending a lot of money, speaking to three customer service agents, and sending 10 e-mails, Prarthana has neither received the gift, nor have I received a refund yet.

5 thoughts on “Indiatimes Shopping Sucks… Big Time!!”

  1. I had a bad experience too.. I purchased a dual simcard mobile phone.. when the package arrived, it was a lousy one.. so I sent it back with much difficulty as they could not give me a retun address!!
    order cancelled on 31st oct.. till date no refund.. mails not replied.. calls go to customer service.. they recite the usual templates… we are forwarding this issue to concerned department, or your complaint has been registerd… etc… I am really pissed off with this all.
    Totally unprofessional crooks.. once they get your money.. then you are at their mercy..
    they can’t be touched because they are TIMES OF INDIA group..
    my 6500 rupees and call charges for numerous times gone down the drain!!

  2. Hello,

    I placed an order on 30/5/2010 to be delivered for a marriage on 5/5/2010, but the flowers are not delivered and when i went to the order details it says its shipped on 6/5/2010 and delivered on 5/5/2010 , a proof that they have cheated my money in the name of online shopping.

    How to proceed further to get my money back from them whom should i contact or how do i file a case againt intiatimes shopping.

    My order no is : 112332256

    Thanks and Regards

    Stephen

  3. Thanks Robert for your comment. I really don’t understand why Indiatimes Shopping’s customer service sucks – especially when the company belongs to the largest media house in India. Having said that, the website’s customer service is pathetic. You will first need to send them a mail explaining the situation and ask for an immediate refund. Then take the reference number and call up their customer service number and register a complaint regarding the same. In my experience, you will get your refund within 10 working days.

  4. I am facing a similar problem. I placed an order on 22/08/2010.
    The website took the billing address as shipping address. As told by the customer care executive, I emailed them regarding the same. Till now , I have sent some 5-6 emails to all the email ids they asked me to. I haven’t received any response not even the auto generated one! I have spoken to almost all the customer care executives in the delhi call center but to no avail. They don’t do anything and also they never transfer the call to supervisor. Y’day they gave me a consignment number and the courier company contact number to get the address changed. The courier company tells me that the consignment number is invalid! I have lost all hopes now.
    I can understand your frustration as I am also making calls from outside India.

  5. I am an Indian and so I was expecting indiatimes shopping as a very reliable service in my country.

    But reality is totally different, I paid them for a HITACHI Air conditioner but payment failed… and when I contacted them each time they keep my confidence up that my problem will resolved and I will got my refund. But after spending 4 month I got nothing from them.

    There executives always change, you have to tell them whole story, after that they raise a new complaint and they assure that my case will be sent to concern department and after weeks of waiting you have to contact them again and again…

    After 4 month they still have no satisfactory reply…
    Thanks to HDFC Credit Card department,
    They helped me get my money back

    Indiatimes Shopping SUCKS

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